Congress is faced with the decision to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im). Ex-Im is an export credit agency (ECA) that provides insurance, direct loans, and loan guarantees to facilitate export transactions. Its reauthorization has already become a political flashpoint, in part because Ex-Im is easily demagogued.
In 1990 Congress created the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program, a variant of price fixing that imposed a ceiling on the manufacturers’ price when provided to Medicaid patients. Specifically, manufacturers were required to offer Medicaid the ‘best price’ offered to any other health insurance provider. The price-fixing, however, had a serious catch. Before the law passed, manufacturers regularly donated prescription drugs to health care facilities with high volumes of low-income patients (in return they got a charitable deduction and some good-will). Continuing this practice, however, would mean that the Medicaid best prices was……zero. Charitable giving collapsed.
The president will announce today executive actions to reduce the repayment obligations of student loan borrowers. According to the New York Times: "Mr. Obama’s main action will be to expand on a 2010 law that capped borrowers’ repayments at 10 percent of their monthly income. The intent is to extend such relief to an estimated five million people with older loans who are currently ineligible — those who got loans before October 2007 or stopped borrowing by October 2011. But the relief would not be available until December 2015...”
Few sectors of the American economy can rival the public distress caused by the high cost of health care, but higher education comes close.
During an April 10th Senate Finance Committee hearing, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius informed committee members that some states may see cuts to Medicaid funding. According to Secretary Sebelius, some states are unable to receive Medicaid applications from the federally facilitated exchange (FFE), and are left sifting through applications for individuals awaiting their Medicaid eligibility approval.
The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) subsidizes health insurance for children in families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid. Since 1997, CHIP provides federal matching funds to states to provide this coverage, which is why some refer to the program as SCHIP to recognize the states’ role.
Yesterday, Comcast’s David Cohen made the case for his company’s deal with Time Warner Cable before the Senate Judiciary Committee. While the legislators’ questions were rightfully centered on consumers, countless questions on rising prices detracted from a more robust exploration of the dynamism in broadband.
Though the open enrollment period for the health insurance exchanges has come to a close, the total number of newly enrolled Medicaid beneficiaries is still climbing for 2014. Many questions have been raised regarding the number of newly enrolled individuals as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began accepting applications for H-1B visas - available for high skilled immigrant workers -for 2015 yesterday.